Helen Rose, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Sponsor for Gender at TSB, gives her top five career tips.
Get a career mentor, or better still a sponsor!
I am extremely passionate about supporting future talent. Mentoring is a great way to help and support people in their careers by providing perspective and helping them to navigate the corporate world.
And, don’t be afraid to step forward as a mentor yourself. It’s very rewarding and you shouldn’t underestimate how your experiences and knowledge can help someone else. Especially, if you have experienced returning to the workplace post maternity leave – we need more dedicated career champions to ensure that a career break becomes part of the long-term professional journey.
Or if you’re really ambitious and want to take your career to the next level, try to get a sponsor. A sponsor is a senior business leader who can see your potential and wants to play an active role in helping you reach that potential. It can really help your career progression, so, if you work with someone who you think would be a good sponsor be bold and ask them.
Keep up those relationships
I really value networking as a way to support your career. Your network is a wealth of information, connections and future opportunities, that can broaden your personal vision and contribute to personal success, but also to the success of your employer. We all have many demands on our time but I would encourage anyone kick starting their career to be curious about their industry from the get go. Additionally, as you take on more senior roles I think it becomes more and more important to network and to understand the industry and customer trends.
Don’t stop learning
The workplace can be complex and fast-moving, with fierce competition for jobs and digitalisation and innovation constantly changing the working environment. My advice is to keep adding to the breadth of your experience. Always look for opportunities to broaden your skills base – it will always serve you well in the longer term.
Trust your instinct
Sometimes I find women can be too cautious, which can result in them missing out. Try to be courageous in saying yes and trusting your gut instinct. When I was offered the role as Chief Operating Officer at TSB, I had 24 hours to make up my mind. In my experience, it is better to be brave and then think about what support you need around you to make you successful. You’ll be amazed where this can lead you!
Live to work, or work to live?
Everyone has different family responsibilities and interests outside work. For me, I protect my weekends because it’s important to have some ‘Helen / family’ time. My weeks are pretty intense and I am very focussed on how I spend my time. Striking that work life balance is not an easy one, but I have learnt over the years that it is very important to be open about your work and home commitments.